Neymar says money not motive after joining Paris Saint-Germain in record deal
Neymar switched from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a record-breaking move.Updated: Aug 04, 2017, 19:40 IST
Neymar insisted that money was not a motivation in deciding to join Paris Saint-Germain and said Friday that he would not be burdened by his 222 million-euro ($262-million) price tag.
The Brazilian star flew in from Barcelona on a private jet for his official presentation, arriving in a city whose soccer fortunes he is expected to transform.
At a packed Paris news conference, Neymar found it “really sad” to be asked whether the riches on offer were the reason for his decision to swap one of soccer’s most illustrious teams — Barcelona has won every major honor multiple times — for a club yet to win the biggest competitions outside of France.
“I was never motivated by money,” Neymar said at the PSG stadium. “What I think about is happiness. If I was following the money I would maybe be in some other country.”
The move more than doubled the previous transfer record.
“The fact I am the most expensive player is not a burden. I am 69 kilograms (152 pounds),” Neymar said through a translator.
A record-breaking transfer leaves PSG having to squeeze every euro out of the signing — through sponsorship, merchandise and jersey sales — to ensure the club complies with European soccer’s financial regulations.
Posters of the Brazilian — accompanied by the words “Welcome to a Paris Neymar Jr 10” — were unveiled to cheers on the front of the central Paris store where fans had been waiting for hours to get their hands on jerseys emblazoned with his name.
“We look at Neymar as a brand,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “I don’t think he is expensive because I think (the transfer) will pay more than we paid.”
With Neymar on board, supporters expect the team will achieve much more than just regain the French title from Monaco.
The transfer could also elevate the 25-year-old forward to new personal heights as he emerges from the shadow of Lionel Messi at Barcelona.
“He is one of the three best players in the world,” 21-year-old PSG fan Sacha Cope said as he waited in line outside the club store on the Champs-Elysees on Friday morning to buy a Neymar jersey.
“He comes here to win the Champions League with Paris Saint-Germain. We are expecting that. If he can do that here, for sure he will win the Ballon D’Or. He couldn’t do that at Barcelona because he was with Messi.”
It was unclear if Neymar would make his debut when PSG opens its league season Saturday against Amiens, a team making its top-flight debut.
Philippe Chembon, a fan, flaunted a receipt showing he spent 623.50 euros ($740) on four Neymar jerseys.
“This is a very big moment for PSG,” said the 63-year-old Chembon, who is older than the club.
When word spread late Thursday that Neymar could be staying at Le Royal Monceau in Paris, fans started to descend on the hotel. They weren’t deterred from hanging around through the night, despite discovering Neymar wouldn’t arrive until the morning.
“We think Neymar will help us to dream bigger and win everything,” 20-year-old fan Samy El Amrani Jorey said outside the hotel at 1:30 a.m., adopting the club’s motto.
Annoyed Barcelona won’t pay Neymar bonus
Barcelona won’t pay a 26 million euro ($30.8 million) bonus to Neymar for renewing his contract with the Catalan giants in 2016, a club spokesman said on Friday after his decision to join Paris Saint-Germain for a world record transfer fee.
Josep Vives admitted Barca had been left irritated by the Brazilian’s decision to leave despite signing a new five-year deal last year as PSG paid his 222 million euro ($264 million) buyout clause to leave Barca powerless to prevent Neymar moving on.
“Any separation causes annoyance, especially when it is one not wished for by the club due to a unilateral decision on the part of the player,” Vives told a press conference at the Camp Nou.
“The player hasn’t fulfilled his contract with the club...given that breach the club will not pay this renewal bonus.”